May 4, 1970, the US National Guard shot four unarmed students at Kent State University in Ohio. Some of the students who were shot had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30. Other students had simply been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance. Neil Young wrote this song shortly after seeing a news report on the tragedy. It was recorded by Crosby Stills Nash and Young released just 10 days after the shootings.
The event also made a profound influence on some up and coming artists who were on campus. The founders of DEVO and Chrissy Hind of the Pretenders were students at Kent State at the time.
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